Compulsory Blood Transfusion in Nigeria

Do you know that while the world has gone past organ transplant to the development of human organs, Nigerians still argue about blood transfusion? This is sad. Let me tell you a real life experience in Nigeria.

On April 19th, 1997, a baby was born at the Chevron Clinic in Lekki Peninsula, Lagos state. The joyful parents took their new baby home. Unfortunately, tragedy stuck one month later, and the baby was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition. The doctor told the parents that a blood transfusion was needed to save the child's life. The parents rejected this treatment insisting that “on no account should their baby be given blood transfusion because blood transfusion is dangerous as the blood might be infected (we all know that technology has grown beyond such risks and necessary tests are always carried out to ensure that donor bloods are infection free) and their religion forbids blood transmission (they are members of the Jehovah witness sect). The doctor, in an attempt to fulfil his sworn oath to save life reported the case to the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State who sought a court order to give the doctor the power to administer the required blood transfusion.The court granted this order and the child was given the blood he needed and he survived.

This is where the story gets interesting. Do you know that the child’s parents, instead of rejoicing at the recovery of their baby sued the Doctor for 10 million naira damages for the grave offence of doing everything medically possible to save their child’s life?

Some people who subscribe to this view might begin to argue thus “the child belongs to the parents, and they are just trying to protect his soul.”I only have one reply to this argument. If different religious sects under the umbrella of Christianity have small diverse differences in their beliefs and mode of worship, then imagine if a new religion arises. A religion that believe in sexual freedom and the right to decide when and if you want to have a child. A religion that believes in abortions. Who in your opinion is more morally corrupt, the man who kills a baby in the womb (a zygote that she has not met or for whom her body has not undergone any transformation) or the woman who chose death for her child (a child who she went through hours of labour to give birth to and has breast-fed for one month). You are the judge, What is your verdict?

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  1. The man who took the doctor to court might be the biological parent, but the child still belongs to the Nigerian State.

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